Pink-Collar Representation and Budgetary Outcomes in US States

Tiffany D. Barnes, Victoria D. Beall, Mirya R. Holman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Legislatures worldwide are dominated by wealthy elites, who are often out of touch with the needs and problems of citizens. Research shows that the underrepresentation of the working class matters in terms of policy processes and outcomes. Yet the research on class has largely focused on blue-collar representatives, who are primarily men. Working-class women are more likely to hold pink-collar jobs, or low-status occupations dominated by women. We argue that pink-collar legislators are uniquely positioned to legislate over education and social service policy. To test our argument, we combine a new coding of working-class backgrounds that accounts for pink-collar representation with state spending data on education and social services from US states over time. Modeling compositional budget data, we find that class and gender intersect to shape policy outcomes via state budget allocations, with women's pink-collar representation associated with increased spending on both education and social services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-154
Number of pages36
JournalLegislative Studies Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Washington University in St. Louis


  • blue-collar
  • budgeting
  • class
  • gender
  • pink -collar
  • policy outcomes
  • representation
  • state legislatures
  • women in office

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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